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Port: This is the legislation ND should have passed in response to the #NoDAPL riots

A protestor pours gasoline on a fire blocking North Dakota Hwy. 1806 on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, north of Cannon Ball. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Yesterday the state Senate passed three of four of the “protest bills” introduced in reaction to the #NoDAPL rioting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. One of those bills made it illegal to wear a mask while committing a crime, while another increased the consequences for illegal protest activities. A third allows law enforcement to cite trespassing as they would, say, a speeding ticket.

All of these bills originated in the House where they’ve already been approved. A fourth bill to make it illegal to cause economic harm while committing a misdemeanor crime, which has also been approved by the House, has not yet been taken up by the Senate.

These bills are a manifestation of the legislature’s rightful concerns about protecting the North Dakota from further acts of political extremism, but I’m not sure any of them really get to the heart of the matter.

The #NoDAPL activists blocked roads, disrupted commerce, trespassed, and vandalized all while stating explicitly all over social media that their goal was to create as much expense and economic harm for North Dakotans as possible.

What North Dakota lawmakers should have done is emulate a Minnesota law which would “allow government entities to sue individuals for public safety costs accrued from instances that lead to unlawful assembly or public nuisance convictions.”